The Cold War is NOT over.
A ring of 11 Russian moles right out of a Cold War spy novel was smashed Monday — and among those busted was a flame-haired, 007-worthy beauty who flitted from high-profile parties to top-secret meetings around Manhattan.
Russian national Anna Chapman — a 28-year-old divorcee with a masters in economics, an online real-estate business, a fancy Financial District apartment and a Victoria’s Secret body — had been passing information to a Russian government official every Wednesday since January, authorities charged.
In one particularly slick spy exchange on St. Patrick’s Day, Chapman pulled a laptop out of a tote bag in a bookstore at Warren and Greenwich streets in the West Village while her handler lurked outside, receiving her message on his own computer, the feds said. A similar exchange occurred at a Midtown coffee shop at 47th Street and 8th Ave.
The FBI claimed the two were corresponding via a secret online network.
Last week, an undercover agent pretending to be a Russian official arranged a meeting to talk about the weekly laptop exchanges, pretending to be ready to send the sexy spy on a mission to deliver a fake passport to another female agent, according to the federal complaint
“Are you ready for this step?” he asked. “S—, yes,” Chapman allegedly gushed.
The undercover instructed her on how she would recognize her fellow spy and how to report back on the handoff, the feds said.
……All allegedly were on deep-cover assignments and schooled in spying tradecraft — from using high-tech methods like digital gadgets to traditional methods like invisible ink, sending encoded radio bursts of data and using innocent-looking “brush-by” encounters to pass documents.
Among the extraordinary allegations detailed in documents filed in Manhattan federal court yesterday:
* A senior Russian spy who used the name Christopher Metsos served as a go-between for agents across the country. He buried cash under five inches of dirt in upstate Wurtsboro that was dug up two years later by a Yonkers couple who were members of the ring. He was arrested this morning trying to board a plane in Cyprus.
……* In May 2006, spies based in Boston gave their handlers information about changes at the CIA and about the 2008 presidential election. The information came from a well-connected “former legislative counsel for the US Congress,” they told Moscow.
* The Boston spies also boasted in 2004 that one of their agents had talks with a US nuclear expert about research on bunker-buster warheads.
* A spy in Montclair, NJ, who used the name Cynthia Murphy, told Moscow in February 2009 that she had “several work-related personal meetings” with a prominent New York financier, who was a big campaign fund-raiser and friend of a former Cabinet member.
“Of course, he is a very interesting target,” Moscow replied.
After the collapse of the Soviet empire, the Russians had a chance to transform into a better system of government, politics, economics, and foreign policy. They’re still clinging to the old Soviet M.O.
They’ve been threatening, saber-rattling, re-building their weaponry, and getting real chummy with the despots in Iran. They’ve also been carrying out assassinations on enemies of Putin’s State.
The discovery of the high-tech spying and treacherous collaboration of U.S. Congressional legislative counsels, nuclear experts and financiers, is despicable but not surprising.
As a former intelligence analyst and security NCOIC, I used to give briefings on OPSEC, INFOSEC, Physical security, and espionage. My favorite class of instruction was about the four basic frailties of human behavior that make some people vulnerable or worse, willing accomplices to treason. Money, Ideology, Sex, and Ego. (M.I.S.E.) Looks like all four were covered in this scenario. Too bad the death penalty for treason isn’t carried out anymore.